While watching baseball, I often think about which of today’s players will end up enshrined in the Hall of Fame. There are a number of players that seem like no brainers (ex. Mike Trout) while others are borderline candidates (ex. Carlos Beltran). There are some that were easily first ballot but have harmed their chances (ex. Alex Rodriguez) while some were headed in the right direction until injuries steered them off course (ex. Adam Wainwright).
As a thought experiment, I decided to examine the current 40 man rosters of each team in the National League Central and highlight the players on each team with the best chance of making it all the way to Cooperstown, New York. I have avoided players who have accumulated one full year or less of service time with their pro club due to the lack of stable data from such a small sample. Today’s post focuses on the Cincinnati Reds.
Players in contention:
Brandon Phillips: Age 35. Resume: 1 season of 30/30 and 2 seasons of 20/20 production. Phillips is close to 200/200 for his career which is nice production from a second baseman. He has been an All Star 3 times, a Silver Slugger 1 time, and has 4 Gold Gloves although defensive metrics do not particularly like his defense (9.8 defensive WAR total over 15 years). Phillips has had a nice career but it won’t be enough to get him into Cooperstown unless he puts up another half decade of well-above average production at second base. Hall of Fame chance: 7%.
Joey Votto: Age 32. Resume: 4 All Star selections, 1 MVP, 1 Gold Glove. Votto has an impressive career .310 batting average and .956 OPS. He also often leads the league in walks. The knock on Votto is that he appears to sacrifice counting stats for plate discipline which hurts his overall counting numbers. However, he has accumulated 45.9 WAR and is currently in his 10th pro season. Playing for a retooling Reds team will hurt his counting numbers until his supporting cast matures and the lackluster product on the field will remove him from the national spotlight. Votto’s individual performance with the bat will likely keep him in contention for the Hall but he’ll need to perform at his current level for at least another 5 years. Hall of Fame chance: 50%.
Billy Hamilton: Age 25. 3 years of 50 plus steals (counting 2016 where he presently has swiped 51). Hamilton has no power and questions about his batting eye hampers any projection for growth. Defensive metrics appear to like his outfield play but his defensive WAR is not eye popping. At 25 his skills need to take a big jump forward because his wheels will begin to slow in the next few years. One trick ponies (ex. Vince Coleman) don’t get to Cooperstown. Hall of Fame chance: 3%.
For Part I of this article which highlights the Chicago Cubs, click here.